Sunday, 8 September 2013

Beewolf - Philanthus triangulum in Nottinghamshire.

Distribution Map for the Beewolf
The Royal Entomological Society handbook describing this species published in 1980 indicates the presence of a fluctuating population on the extreme south coast of England, with permanent colonies existing only on the Isle of Wight. However since this publication this stunning wasp has undergone a rapid and northerly expansion in range with records as far north as Yorkshire.  In Nottinghamshire the first record I can find is for 1996 when Trevor Pendleton found a small colony at Market Warsop.  My first encounter was a little fortuitous and in 2011.  I had been photographing several solitary wasps thinking they were either Mellinus arvensis or Cerceris rybyensis, both common at Holme Pierrepont. Only when I got home and looked at what I'd taken did I realise that one of the pictures was of Philanthus triangulum, the Beewolf.    It was not until my recent forays to Budby Heath that I've found it again.  This time on several occassions, however I have still not found where they make their burrows.  That'll give me something to do next year.    A bit of Biology, best month to see them August.   They make a hole approximately 1m in depth and provision this with Honeybee's that they capture paralyse and carry back to the nest. On the continent they are considered serious pests of hive colonies.  If you want to see them I suggest any site with decent honey bee numbers with suitable sandy habitat, so probably in and around sherwood.  The Holme Pierrepont example I saw in 2011 was on the site of the old gravel and sand yard.
Beewolf - Budby Heath Nottinghamshire 29th August 2013 


  1. Just happened on your excellent site whilst researching the ecology of spoil tips. A couple of questions:

    1. As the tiger beetle wasp is wingless how easy is it to locate?

    2. Your photographs are excellent what kit are you using?

    Thanks Steve (www.valley

  2. Steve, Glad you like the site. What are you looking for on spoil tips. I have a local tip near me which is about to be ruined through "green" development with solar panels all over it.
    1. Wingless wasp is relatively easy to spot but a very fast runner. Not quite sure why no one has ever found it at Sherwood before. Be careful though there is a much commoner wingless wasp that lives in the same habitat.
    2. Nikon 105mm Micro lens stuck on a Nikon D90. Quality lens but pricey.